Washington, D.C., ranks as No. 1 city for business

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Virginia made a strong showing on MarketWatch’s 2010 annual ranking of the Best Cities for Business.  In its fourth year, the survey by the San Francisco-based financial news services ranked Washington, D. C. as the No. 1. best city for business in the country.  Richmond came in at No. 7.

The resilient economy of the nation’s capital helped it beat out other cities such as No.2 ranked Omaha and Boston, No. 3.

The survey said an expanding federal government helped Washington’s economy weather the recession and bumped the city from No. 2 in 2009 to the top position.  Expansion in suburban Virginia and Maryland also was a plus.

The 2010 MarketWatch survey looked at some new metrics including how cities tied to contain their jobless rates over the past year, tourism business and the economic impact of military bases.  Altogether, it examined 102 cities in 14 categories, with the survey measuring the concentration of businesses in metro areas with a population of 500,000 or more. Each city was scored on a point system with Washington receiving a total score of 1,100 points and Richmond getting 957 points.

Both the nation’s and Virginia’s capital scored well in terms of the presence of major companies. MarketWatch noted that three companies, Computer Sciences Corp., Hilton Worldwide and Northrop Grumman Corp., had all located to Fairfax County in the Washington metro in the last 2 ½ years. Meanwhile, the survey said Richmond offered the best of both worlds: a two-hour trip to metro Washington by car and a lower cost of doing business than a large city. It also has a high concentration of S&P 500 companies for a city its size but ranked low in tourism and personal income.  It reclaimed its spot on the Top 10 list, after falling off in 2009.

This year’s top 10 cities for business were:  Washington, Omaha, Boston, Des Moines, Minneapolis, Denver, Richmond, New York, Harrisonburg, and Seattle.

To see the complete study, go to

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